Mahindra Racing suffered a setback in their debut season in the 125cc World Championship when both riders were forced to retire from the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
Danny Webb and Marcel Schrotter both crashed in Friday practice before the Briton had electrical problems in qualifying. Despite that, he still managed to qualify 20th, four places ahead of Schrotter.
Webb battled hard as he went in search of his first points of the season, including another tussle with fellow British youngster Danny Kent. Reliability problems would intervene again though as the 20-year-old was forced out with a loss of engine power.
Webb was still encouraged by the updates the Indian team had brought to Le Mans, and is hopeful of making further improvements at Catalunya in two weeks.
“It's not been a good weekend for results, but we made some steps. I got a good start and I was enjoying the race with a good group. My pace was a little slower, probably because I had so few practice laps, but I was able to fight with them anyway. Then about five laps before I retired my engine started losing power and I lost touch. I decided to carry on, but then it got worse and I had to stop.”
Schrotter had difficulties of his own with the engine on the GP 125, dropping to the tail of the field before the race was even a lap old.
The 18 year-old tried his best to cope with the power deficit and was even starting to move up the order, but he eventually called it a day on the same lap as his teammate.
“The first part of my start was okay, then I felt immediately the engine was not running right” he explained. “Usually it revs to 13,500 rpm, but when it got to 13,000 it lost power. I was absolutely last, but I found another way to ride. It was difficult to close the gap but I caught up and I passed four riders and could stay with the others. Unfortunately, the bike then stopped.”
The Indian manufacturer will hope to bounce back when the championship goes back to Spain for the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya in three weeks time.